The feature on Saturday at Churchill Downs is the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (G3) which drew a field of eight older runners who will go 1 ½ miles on the Matt Winn turf course.
The Roger Attfield trained Simmard is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is coming off a third place finish in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland at the distance.
The seven-year-old has come up short in his last two starts at today’s distance after winning the Mac Diarmida (G2) three back at 1 3/8 miles.
He is just 1 for 9 at today’s distance and looks as if he may be a vulnerable favorite and we will try to beat him for the top spot.
The feature at Belmont Park is also a turf marathon, as the ladies will go 1 3/8 miles in the $200,000 Sheepshead Bay (G2).
The race drew a field of 10 fillies and mares with four additional runners listed as main track only entrants in case the race is taken off the turf.
The races were washed off the turf on Friday, but the weather does appear to be on the improve for Saturday afternoon.
The Graham Motion trainee Aruna is the 3-1 morning line favorite despite a disappointing effort last out in a sixth place finish in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in her last start, which was her first outing since running fifth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Others that figures to garner attention at the betting windows include the top two finishers in the Orchid (G2) at Gulfstream Park, the winner Hit It Rich and the lightly raced Aqsaam who was just a half-length behind the winner in second.
Principal Role is an interesting mare if she goes off near her 6-1 morning line odds.
The Bill Mott runner checked in third in the Beaguay (G3) over yielding turf in her U.S. debut. She as third in last summer’s Nassau Stakes (G1)at Goodwood behind Midday and Snow Fairy.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park and Churchill Downs each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each day Thursday through Sunday, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Churchill Downs Race 10 The Louisville Handicap (G3) Post time 5:25 ET
Tahoe Lake 5-2
Harrod’s Creek 6-1
Tahoe Lake makes his third start since coming back off a five month layoff and looks primed for a good effort here for the Ken McPeek barn. Last out the gelding made a good late rally splitting rivals inside the 3/16’s but was unable to get to the winner Point of Entry late. He ran second to that foe two back as well in a second level optional claimers off the layoff. The gelding has only faced graded stakes company twice but gave a good account of himself in both and has shown in his last two outings that 1 ½ miles is within his scope.
Harrod’s Creek is coming off a third place finish in the San Juan Capistrano (G2) at Santa Anta., The five year old prompted the early pace, took over the lead and drew clear but was unable to finish, weakening late to finish third, beaten 1 ½ lengths for the top spot. He does have a win at today’s distance, beating Alw-2 foes at Keeneland last fall. Three of his last four speed figs put the Bill Mott trainee right in the mix here and he makes his third start off the bench. The 6-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a good look.
Joinem was sent off at 28-1 last out in the Muniz Jr. Handicap (G2) and raced wide throughout, making a mild late run in a paceless race to finish a decent third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. The gelding comes in here owning the top last out speed fig and he certainly has the pedigree to be able to handle 1 ½ miles. His win over the turf here came back in ’10 when he broke his maiden for a $30K tag in his debut.
WIN: Tahoe Lake to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7
TRIFECTA: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
Michael Dempsey’s Belmont Stakes Day Report
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Belmont Stakes Day card.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown features an outstanding day of horse betting. The supporting stakes include the $500,000 Manhattan Handicap (G1), $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap (G2), and the $150,000 Jaipur.